India observes and celebrates wildlife week from October 2nd to October 8th every year. The Indian Board of Wildlife started this in order to create awareness among the people regarding India’s rich wildlife and to conserve it.
India is one of the biggest wildlife treasure houses in the world, with about 350 species of mammals, 1224 species of birds, 408 species of reptiles, 197 species of amphibians, 2546 of flowering plants and 15000 species of flowering plants. India has a wide array of ecosystems like the tropical rainforests, deciduous monsoon forests, freshwater marshes, lagoons, freshwater lakes, rivers, mangroves, desert, marine, shola forests ecosystems etc. India also houses three of the world’s 34 wildlife hotspots. The unique and varied ecosystems found in India support quite a number of wildlife that are found nowhere else in the world.
India is a land whose wildlife is woven into its culture and religion. India is a land where nature in all its forms is worshipped. Our folklore, myths, ancient art and literature stand as a testimony to the esteemed position wildlife enjoyed in India. But ironically today India’s wildlife is under huge threat. Mismanagement, poaching, habitat loss, overexploitation, pollution and other detrimental human activities are taking a devastating toll on India’s wildlife. The statistics of how much we have persecuted wildlife is mind boggling. A walk down any random road in India will tell one how much we pollute. A visit to a national park or zoo will show us how much we disrespect wildlife. A cursory glance at the day’s newspaper will speak volumes about human consumerism that sucks the life out of nature. India’s wildlife is facing imminent danger.
But there is a ray of hope for India’s wildlife. The government has setup about 112 national parks, 18 bio reserves and 515 wildlife sanctuaries to conserve wildlife. NGO’s are carrying out extensive conservation and rehabilitation work to preserve out wildlife. The media is creating awareness and educating people about wildlife and conservation. Children are being taught in school to care for nature. Celebrities are stepping up and are using their influence to bring about change. Poachers are being caught. Forests are being recovered.
To protect what we have and to reclaim what we lost your involvement and commitment is of paramount importance. The following are some of the things you can do to do your bit in the fight for the conservation of India’s wildlife.
1. Visit a national park or wildlife sanctuary and experience the wild side of India.
2. Donate to an organization that works for the conservation of wildlife.
3. Teach children about wildlife and the need for protecting them. Organize seminars and events related to wildlife in schools and colleges.
4. Build a bird box or a bird bath in your garden.
5. Watch wildlife channels and increase your knowledge and awareness.
6. Adopt an animal. Many organizations allow you to symbolically adopt an animal by letting you pay for its conservation or up keep.
7. Clean your community.
8. Spread the word about wildlife conservation using social media.
9. Join a conservation organization.
10. Take care to not pollute the environment. Check how your lifestyle affects the environment and make necessary changes.
11. Inform wildlife authorities if you come across any illegal activity.
12. Get the phone numbers of the local wildlife rescue organizations.
13. Keep your pets indoors unless you are with them. Free roaming dogs and cats can harm wildlife.
14. Sign online petitions for wildlife conservation.
The wildlife of India stands a fighting chance if you do your bit and fight for it.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead